Daylight savings time ended this past weekend and on the first workday post Fall-Back, I encountered no less than 3 runners out at or after sunset with no reflective gear. I know, it’s tough enough to get home from a long day at work only to pull on your running shoes and hit the door again. But since you care enough about your health to keep your body in peak physical condition, wouldn’t you like to live long enough to enjoy the perks of your healthy lifestyle? It would be a shame to be killed or maimed by an encounter with a motorized vehicle because you didn’t take the time to pull on a reflective vest before heading out for that run or ride along busy streets.
According to statistics posted on the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site there were 4,092 fatalities involving pedestrians in 2009 . 59,000 pedestrians were injured in vehicular accidents during the same period. That amounts to one death every 2 hours and one injury every nine minutes. 72% of the fatalities were in urban areas and 69% of them occured at night, during normal weather conditions. And most of these accidents aren’t happening at intersections. They are the result of crossing mid street, crossing in high speed traffic, or walking in the street when and where visibility is reduced, like at night, in residential areas with curves and hills and view blocking landscaping.
For cyclists the statistics are very similar for injuries, about 51,000 in 2009, but the fatalities were much lower, 630. What I found most interesting about the information from NHTSA on this subject is that while the number of fatalities had decreased from 2008, the number of daytime fatalities actually increased. What does this mean? Are there more cyclists sharing the road during the day or has the backlash against cycling caused drivers to be less careful? Is it a lack of Share the Road education programs? Regardless, we all need to be cautious and attentive out there whether we are the pedestrian/cyclist or the driver of a motorized vehicle.
There are several companies that make reflective gear for walkers, runners and cyclists. If your concern is that it won’t wick or will retain too much body heat: there is great workout wear designed to keep you dry and comfortable that also helps you be visible. Brooks, Surgoi, Saucony, many of our favorite gear companies have lines of reflective wear. You can get vests, jackets, shirts, shorts, shoes, armbands, socks, hats or bibs. The illuminiNite line has reflective gear and accessories for runners and cyclists. If you are a walker or runner who likes to get your cardio while making sure your dog stays fit too, this site carries many lines of reflective gear for you and a few things for your 4-legged companions.
Let’s stay safe. We all want to stay healthy and whole so we can go outside and do it again tomorrow!